Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Since the end of World War II, the economy has achieved relatively steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.

Other Information

Natural Resources

coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber<br> note: the US has the world's largest coal reserves with 491 billion short t

Land Use

arable land: 16.29%
permanent crops: 0.26%
other: 83.44% (2011)


318,892,103 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4

Ethnic Groups

white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bu


Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)


English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
note: the US has no official national language, but English has acquired official status in 28 of the 50 states; Hawaiian is an official l


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)


Washington, DC

Government Type

constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition


4 July 1776 (declared); 3 September 1783 (recognized by Great Britain)

National Holiday

Independence Day, 4 July (1776)